Saturday, July 23, 2011

Derby Storm

It's getting all to frequent that at some point in a multiple day tournament the skies open up, or the winds whip up, or the air and humidity heat up, and we are left with some form of damage to... clean-up!

Last night's storm dropped another 5 inches of rain on top of the Day 1 Derby total of 1.5. You can do the math but suffice is to say it was enough to put portions or entire fairways, of nearly every hole, underwater.

The photos below give a reasonable picture of what the course looked like this morning. Some haven't changed much moving into the afternoon:
Hole #10

Hole #13

Hole #3

Hole #6

New Duck Pond on #8  
-This was after a much larger area had drained

Holes -4,11,3,13 - From 4 Tee to 13 Green underwater this morning

Brick Cart Path at #17 Tee

Crushed Brick Path near 18th Green
- completely washed down to lower approach

Fun stuff huh? We're pumping, squeegeeing, replacing sand in bunkers (only a couple though), raking debris and in general prepping so that, hopefully, the first round of Derby can be completed and a second round can be started and completed as well. More on Derby...Pre-prep, storm, and storm repair, later.
We go 30 days without much rain at all and then just when we don't want any we get 6.5 inches! I guess next time we're in a long dry spell and need some rain, all we'll have to do is hold a tournament! Chances are it will rain! 

Things could be much worse. There was a flurry of activity at a home near the 15th green this morning with several fire trucks blocking our entrance.
Firefighter putting out remains of a probable lightning induced fire that burned the entire roof and likely destroyed much of home content. Fortunately the family was gone on vacation.

Puts things into perspective... We'll have a delay in our tournament, and may lose some grass due to standing water heating up and suffocating it, but this family probably will lose their home!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Old Fashioned Style Watering

Round Three. Another powerful storm ripped through Chicagoland yesterday and left over 800,000 customers without power including Skokie Country Club and the Grounds Operation Center and (of  potentially critical importance) our Pumping Station.

This storm actually was fairly mild in terms of tree debris left for clean-up but power supply was disrupted (and still is as of tonight) and with no power there is no ability to run irrigation pump motors, and therefore, no water available from the usual manner. During the last storm with extended power outage (4 days) soil was moist from plentiful rain, temperatures were cool, and skies were cloudy. Very low turf and personal stress.
Conditions during this outage are much different with no rain for three weeks (and very little rain from the storm), temperatures warm to very warm, and clear, sunny skies. Much greater turf and personal stress!
While I tossed and turned last night I had visions of my plan, for today's putting surface watering, dancing in my head. With a large component of our putting surfaces being poa annua there is little tolerance for weather stresses, whether from; high or low air temperatures, high or low soil moisture levels, and/or high or low humidity levels. As such we started early this morning using our jetter tank and our sprayer tank, along with small gasoline powered water pumps, and directly pumping from our ponds as well, to provide a modest amount of water to sustain the greens for the day.

It was slow going, as it took three of us (plus extra help during filling procedures) nearly six hours each to irrigate all the greens, a task which usually can be performed automatically with our 1800 gallon per minute pumping station, a mere 15-20 minutes total! What can I say...sometimes you have to do things the old fashioned way. Hopefully not very long though!

First things first...setting up generator cart to power coffee pot... then fuel pumps!

 Steve and Mike filling up jetter tank

Steve watering 1st of many greens.

 Here I'm watering 13 green directly from ponds/channel. Did same at 3,9,11, &12

Jacob with sprayer tank & small pump on #17. One of several he watered.
The pumps that we all used each produced approx. 12 Gallons Per Minute!

 The 3-60 HP motors capable of pumping 1800 Gallon Per Minute, that I hope are running tomorrow!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weather Extremes Continue

It's been one of the oddest weather years I can remember in many years. Cold and wet for much of the spring, a few record hot days sprinkled in, then temperatures cooled off again, then, as summer began, two wind storms ripped though the course, and now as of Independence Day weekend, high temperatures and record heat indices are expected. Will conditions ever moderate? Less just hope that the month of July is somewhat normal without extreme heat, extreme humidity, extreme wind speed, or extreme rainfall or lack thereof!

Last Tuesday night high winds in excess of  70 mph caused tree loss, power loss, and tree debris to be strewn about the course. Six trees were destroyed, either blown over or split apart and many others lost significant limbs and numerous small branches. Our on-going tree management efforts which includes maintenance pruning and removals as necessary, surely limited the amount of tree damage we might otherwise would have received. We lost power to the Grounds Operation Center (and also the Helps Quarters, Paddle Facility, Irrigation Pumping Station, and Half Way House -all fed off the same power lines) and it remained off until Friday morning. Of all of these areas, what can potentially be devastating in an extended outage is lack of power to the Irrigation Pumping Station. Obviously, without power, pumps cannot run and irrigation cannot proceed. If weather conditions at the same time are hot and dry, turf can be severely stressed and turf loss could occur. In spite of bad luck having the storm occur and cause two full days of course clean-up for our grounds staff, the good luck was that it was cloudy, cool, and turf did not require any irrigation. A good thing indeed!

 The "Debris Field" June 22

The old apple tree near Half Way House, uprooted

 Willow on #11 lost approx. 1/3 of canopy. Perhaps time to remove in winter??

   Half of the canopy of this Hackberry on #7 was split, disfiguring to point that removal was necessary

Another example of large limbs that fell. This is an Ash on #15

Ryan and Gus in full "buck-up" mode

After a few long days of clean-up the course was back to normal, but then another wind storm came through this past week leaving behind another deposit of branches and leaves requiring yet another day of debris removal. Our Grounds Staff once again rose to the challenge and not only prepared the course for a busy holiday weekend but also spent a good portion of the day cleaning debris. Three clean-up day's in a week and a half is more than enough for a while! A little moderation on the weather front would be nice for a change!

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